As social care, mental health and family justice continue to dominate the news, we thought we would add some interesting reports and announcements making the rounds this week:
Government Response to the First Joint Report of the Education and Health and Social Care Committees of Session 2017-19 on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision
Published today, this Green Paper looks at vulnerable children, mental health and the education workforce. The government’s response to the Committee’s report is scathing:
“We welcome the publication of the Government’s Green Paper. However, we
consider that it lacks any ambition and fails to consider how to prevent child and
adolescent mental ill health in the first place. The narrow scope does not take
several vulnerable groups into account, the proposals put more pressure on the
teaching workforce without sufficient resources, and the timetable for
implementation ignores hundreds of thousands of children over the next twelve
years. We are also concerned that the funding for the Green Paper’s proposals is
not guaranteed and contingent on an unspecified level of success.
The long timeframes involved in implementing the Green Paper’s proposals will
leave hundreds of thousands of children and young people unable to benefit from
this strategy over the next few years. Rolling out the plans to only “a fifth to a
quarter of the country by 2022/23” is not ambitious enough. We advocate more
widespread implementation and iterative learning methods to inform best practice
across the piece.
The Green Paper notes that the precise rollout of its proposals will be determined
by the success of the trailblazers, and securing funding after 2020/21 (the end of
the Government’s current spending period). The long-term success of the Green
Paper will rely on adequate funding being made available beyond 2020/21. We
recognise the limited time frame for the Green Paper’s proposals to be
implemented with the currently allocation of funding, and have concerns that
attempts to secure longer term funding could result in pressure for short-term
delivery, before 2020/21. We caution the Government against attempting to ensure
short-term, rather than long-term success of the Green Paper, by choosing only
high performing areas for the trailblazers.”
The Committee’s reply to this view was, as you might imagine, quite strong. (You can read it on page 7 of the report).
The government announced several court closures this week. Along with the job losses involved, the closures may have a knock on effect for people living in these areas who will now need to travel further to make their hearings, which will be more costly to the parties involved.
The courts closing are:
- Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court
- Blackfriars Crown Court
- Chorley Magistrates’ Court
- Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court (currently sitting as a Family Hearing Centre)
- Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court
- Northallerton Magistrates’ Court
- Wandsworth County Court
Report on Transforming courts and tribunals
The government was less than impressed with HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s efforts at implementing its £1.2billion reformation programme, which has barely moved an inch since its launch.
In its report, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said that it had little confidence in the service’s ability to deliver:
“We have little confidence that HMCTS can successfully deliver this hugely ambitious programme to bring the court system into the modern age..
HMCTS has failed to articulate clearly what the transformed justice system would look like, which limits stakeholders’ ability to plan for, and influence the changes..
Despite the revised timescale, HMCTS’s imperative to deliver at such a fast pace risks not allowing time for meaningful consultation or evaluation and could lead to unintended consequences…
HMCTS has not adequately considered how the reforms will impact access to, and the fairness of, the justice system for the people using it, many of whom are vulnerable…
One third of the way through the programme, the Ministry of Justice still does not understand the financial implications of its planned changes on the wider justice system…
We remain concerned that the Ministry of Justice is taking on significant amount of change, without a clear sense of its priorities, at a time when it is facing severe financial and demand pressures…”
It’s all going swimmingly well then.